Conservative Action Project Memo

The Conservative Action Project, founded by former Attorney General Edwin Meese and chaired by The Honorable Becky Norton Dunlop, is designed to facilitate conservative leaders working together on behalf of common goals. Participants include the CEO’s of more than 100 organizations representing all major elements of the conservative movement – economic, social, and national security.

Memo for the Movement

Repeal and Replace

July 29, 2015

Washington, DC

The Affordable Care Act, widely known as ObamaCare, is the greatest expansion of government control over the lives of the American people in the 226 years of our republic. The American people fought valiantly against passage of this oppressive law and continue to pay the price for its excesses.

ObamaCare’s first years have been fraught with failure, but its future looks even more bleak.  Big premium increases are coming in 2016 for people who purchased health insurance on the ObamaCare exchanges.  Millions of others with coverage outside the exchanges lost their previous policies and now are facing double-digit premium hikes.  Many Americans say the new policies they are forced to buy don’t meet their needs — with excessive benefit requirements and impossibly high deductibles.  Small businesses will be hit with the employer mandate in January, the Cadillac health insurance tax is looming, doctors are retiring and selling their practices in record numbers, and the price tag for taxpayers continues to raise from this misguided effort to put one-sixth of our economy under government control.

Supreme Court rescues ObamaCare, once again.

The Supreme Court once again has rewritten ObamaCare to save it.  Its tortured King v. Burwell decision allowed the illegal IRS premium subsidies to stand, despite the clear language of the law. Now, the only appeal of the Supreme Court’s decision is to the American people.

Americans have made their objections to the law clear in election after election, but 2016 is likely to be different. They want repeal, but they also want to hear solutions.  In 2016, they will be looking to conservatives to chart the path ahead, away from ObamaCare’s centralized bureaucratic control and toward a brighter future that puts doctors and patients in charge of health decisions.

Ten Principles for a Patient-Centered Health Care

Charting a path to freedom

Conservatives should focus on presenting a vision of patient choice and true competition to gain a mandate not only to repeal but to replace the health overhaul law based upon policies that lead to quality, affordable, innovative care.  Dozens of quality replacement plans have been offered by conservatives in Congress and in the policy community.  We strongly encourage and expect the presidential candidates to offer their own plans as well.

We offer here ten principles we believe replacement plans should meet so a new Congress and a new president can gain a mandate to repeal and replace this oppressive law with Constitutional reforms:

  • Affordability: The United States does not have a properly functioning market for health care, and the financing system needs to be reformed. ObamaCare’s answer was to vastly expand government programs and impose pricing systems that already are backfiring. Coverage would be more affordable if it were free from the mountains of rules, regulations, and mandates imposed by the ACA.  Conservative reform plans should liberate the marketplace to compete on cost and quality in response to consumer demands, as in other sectors of our economy.
  • Choice: Individuals and families should be able to choose health coverage and care that best meet their needs, free from the straightjacket of benefits ObamaCare says are “essential” but which ignore what consumers prefer. Congress could begin by providing a new set of incentives for people who do not have health insurance. These incentives should be properly structured to create an opportunity for people to purchase care and coverage in an open and competitive market. People also need better information about their insurance options and treatment choices, including clear information about prices and quality. Medicare Advantage can be improved to promote more coverage options for seniors, and Medicaid recipients also should have greater opportunities to pick private plans that are competing to offer creative benefit design and better service delivery.
  • Federalism: The federal government has vastly overstepped its authority in exerting centralized control over the health sector. The Tenth Amendment reserves the power to regulate these markets to the states, which should have control over providing appropriate protections for their citizens in their health insurance markets.  States should be encouraged to create incentives for providers, carriers, and others to compete in offering consumers a range of options for health insurance and services at affordable prices. States also should have much more flexibility in running Medicaid programs so they can get the best value for taxpayers’ dollars, including allowing recipients to escape the Medicaid ghetto.
  • Equity: Health reform must balance the tax treatment of health insurance so people purchasing coverage on their own are not at a disadvantage compared to those who receive coverage through an employer. Equity would also extend support for purchasing coverage to people who do not have health insurance.
  • Security and portability:  People need to know they won’t lose their coverage if they lose their jobs or get sick.  People also should be able to own and keep their policies from year to year and switch to other carriers if they choose in a market that responds to their demands for better, more affordable options.  As long as people maintain their policies, they should be assured that their coverage will continue without cost spikes if they get sick or hurt.  A few sensible insurance rules – not ObamaCare’s repressive mandates – could provide that security and protect those with pre-existing conditions.
  • Impartiality: There should be no favoritism or special interest deals. Members of Congress, the president, and political appointees should be treated the same as other Americans. Conservative reform should not grant special exemptions or benefits to favored groups or target disfavored groups.
  • Doctor and patient control: Any health reform plan should keep as its focus the imperative for doctors and patients – not politicians and bureaucrats – to be in charge of their health care decisions. That means allowing doctors and other medical providers to put patients first and to continue to innovate to transform our health sector to enhance the quality and value of health treatments and care delivery to provide personalized care.
  • Individual responsibility: No health care system can work if people are not encouraged to participate more actively in caring for their health and managing their health care decisions.  That means giving them more control over – and more responsibility for – their choices and spending. Health Savings Accounts have been proven to encourage healthy behaviors and responsibility in managing care and costs, and opportunities to utilize HSAs should be protected and enhanced.
  • Life affirming policies: Health reform policies should affirm health and life, with conscience protection for patients, medical providers, and others providing and paying for health services.
  • Entitlement savings: The nation’s long-term spending trajectory is on a fiscal collision course. Eighty-five percent of the projected growth in federal spending over the next decade is due to entitlement spending and interest on the debt. (Obamacare alone will add $1.8 trillion in federal spending by 2024.)  The threat of a debt crisis is very real and would pose lasting damage to the economy. We must begin now to reform our entitlement programs to avoid an eventual fiscal crisis.  Conservative policy proposals must achieve substantial entitlement savings and can deploy the forces of consumer power and free markets in achieving the goals of entitlement reform.  The sooner we act, the more options we will have.

Our health sector is stuck in a 20th century command-and-control regime.  Conservative policies could move us into a 21st century age of information and innovation.  If consumers were empowered to make their own choices with better incentives, transparent prices, and flexibility in benefits, then opportunities would flourish.  If we unleash the innovators, an explosion of revolutionary technologies could save lives, ease suffering, and reduce costs, giving people options we can’t even imagine today.  We encourage policymakers and political candidates to be guided by these ten principles in developing their own reform plans.

The Honorable Edwin Meese III
Former Attorney General
President Ronald Reagan

The Honorable Becky Norton Dunlop
Chairman, CAP
Former White House Advisor, President Ronald Reagan

Grace-Marie Turner
Galen Institute

The Honorable T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr.
Former Domestic Advisor
President Ronald Reagan

Jenny Beth Martin
Co-Founder and President
Tea Party Patriots

Bill Pascoe
Antietam Communications

The Honorable J. Kenneth Blackwell
Constitutional Congress, Inc.

Doug Badger
Former White House and U.S. Senate Policy Adviser

C.L. Gray, MD
Physicians for Reform

The Honorable Colin A. Hanna
President, Let Freedom Ring
Chairman, Coalitions for America

David A. Bozell

Mr. William L. Walton
Vice President
Council for National Policy

Jeffrey H. Anderson
Executive Director
The 2017 Project

The Honorable David McIntosh
Former Member of Congress

Mr. Alfred S. Regnery
Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund

Heather R. Higgins 
President and CEO
Independent Women’s Voice

Sabrina L. Schaeffer
Executive Director
Independent Women’s Forum

Mrs. Marjorie Dannenfelser
Susan B. Anthony List

The Honorable Steve Stockman
Former Member of Congress

Lew Uhler
National Tax Limitation Committee

Joel Anand Samy
Co-Founder and President
International Leaders Summit

William J. Becker, Jr.
President/CEO/General Counsel
Freedom X

Bill Dallas
United in Purpose

James C. Miller III
Former Director of Office of Management and Budget
President Ronald Reagan

Kay R. Daly
Coalition for a Fair Judiciary

David A. Keene
Opinion Editor
The Washington Times

Jim Backlin
Christian Coalition of America

Bradley Mattes
Life Issues Institute

Rod D. Martin
Founder and CEO
The Martin Organization

Sherri R. Martin 
The Martin Foundation

Jerry Melvin
Florida Republican Assembly

Dr. Theodore Baehr
Chairman and CEO
Christian Film and Television
Commission™ / Movieguide®

Ron Cameron
Mountaire Corporation

Clifton P. Schroeder
Clifton P. Schroeder P.C., Law Offices

Christopher N. Malagisi
Young Conservatives Coalition

Curt Levey
The Committee for Justice

Elaine Donnelly
Founder and President
Center for Military Readiness

Floyd Brown
Western Center for Journalism

Grover Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform

The Honorable Ken Cuccinelli
Senate Conservatives Fund

Jim Waters
Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions

Richard A. Viguerie

Kevin Kookogey 
President & Founder
Linchpins of Liberty

The Honorable Walter (Mike) B. Hill
Member (District 2)
Florida House of Representatives

David W. Preston
Executive Director
Oklahoma Wesleyan University Foundation

Mr. Herman Cain
President and CEO

Kimberly Bellissimo
President & CEO
ForthRight Strategy

David N. Bossie
Citizens United

Penny Pullen
President, Life Advocacy Resource Project
Former Asst. Minority Leader, Illinois House of Representatives

George C. Landrith
Frontiers of Freedom

Gary Marx
Senior Partner
Madison Strategies

Dr. Richard Lee
There’s Hope America

John K. Singlaub
Major General
U.S. Army (Ret.)

Thomas Donelson
Americas PAC

Mr. Ed Corrigan
Former Executive Director
Senate Steering Committee

Mario H. Lopez

James Bopp Jr.
The Bopp Law Firm, PC

Francis P. Cannon
American Principles Project

Dr. Ron Crews CH (COL) USAR Retired
Executive Director
Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty Endorsing Agent, Grace Churches International

Diana L. Banister
Vice President and Partner
Shirley & Banister Public Affairs

Dr. John C. Eastman
Henry Salvatori Professor of Law & Community Service
and Founding Director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence
Chapman University School of Law

Sandy Rios
Vice President
Family Pac Federal

Rev. Lou Sheldon
Founder and Chairman
Traditional Values Coalition

Mathew Staver
Founder & Chairman
Liberty Counsel

Eric Teetsel
Executive Director
Manhattan Declaration

Robert D. Thompson
The Weyrich Lunch

Forest Thigpen
Mississippi Center for Public Policy

Tim Wildmon
American Family Association

Ann Quest

David Williams
Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Robert K. Fischer
Meeting Coordinator for Conservatives of Faith

Willes K. Lee
Vice President
National Federation of Republican Assemblies

Ambassador Henry F. Cooper
Former Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative

Preston Noell III
Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.

Tim LeFever
Capitol Resource Institute

Andresen Blom
Executive Director
Grassroot Hawaii Action

Day Gardner
National Black Pro-Life Union

Brad Dacus
Founder and President
Pacific Justice Institute

Gary L. Bauer
American Values

Bob Carlstrom
The Carlstrom Group, LLC

Dan Weber
Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC)

Maureen Blum
President and CEO
Strategic Coalitions & Initiatives

Elizabeth Wright
Director of Health and Science Division
Citizens Against Government Waste

Quin Hillyer
Longtime Conservative Columnist

Morton Blackwell
The Weyrich Lunch

Paul Vallely MG, US Army (Ret.)
Stand Up America

Melissa Ortiz
Founder & Principal
Able Americans

Bob Adams
Revive America PAC

Penny Nance
CEO and President
Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee

Jerry Grossman
Great Falls Philosophical Forum

Donna Rice Hughes
President & CEO
Enough Is Enough

The Honorable Donald J. Devine
Former Director
U.S. Office of Personnel Management

Ron Robinson
Young America’s Foundation

Larry L. Eastland, Ph.D.
Former Staff Assistant
President Ford

Joseph A. Morris
Morris & De La Rosa

Kirby A. Wilbur
Executive Director
National Journalism Center

Michael R. Long
State Chairman
NYS Conservative Party

The Honorable John Shadegg
Former Member of Congress, Arizona

Amy Noone Frederick
60 Plus Association
(All organizations listed for IDENTIFICATION purposes only)

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